Norton is an amazing actor, a hot-dog whose delight in transformation is infectious.
Two things hold the interest: Norton's astounding performance, and a feeling for the male reality of reactionary working class environments.
The problem is that Kaye, who's used to selling cars on TV, shoots Derek the Hater as lovingly as he would a new Volkswagen.
What partly redeems American History X from its most preachy excesses -- and makes it worth seeing -- is a brilliant, career-high performance by actor Edward Norton.
| Original Score: 2.5/4
Though well-intentioned, turns out to be a simplistic and unconvincing look at a serious problem.
| Original Score: 2.5/5
The tone is so muddled that there's a whiff of exploitation to this movie that's unsettling at best.
| Original Score: 2/4
Arrestingly photographed, and boasting another intelligent and muscular performance by the chameleon-like Edward Norton, American History X is good!
| Original Score: 3.5/5
The film is always interesting and sometimes compelling, and it contains more actual provocative thought than any American film on race since Do the Right Thing.
| Original Score: 3/4
While this movie is sometimes overbaked, it is the first major studio release in a while to engross wall-to-wall.
| Original Score: 3/4
When Hollywood attacks a volatile issue, it inevitably spoon-feeds you the main components of the issue several times over.
This jolting, superbly acted film will draw serious-minded upscale viewers interested in cutting-edge fare and the latest outstanding performance by Edward Norton.
A compelling, if somewhat choppy, tragic drama!
As provocative and daring as it is, the film is also rather simplistic and obvious.
Kaye wants to say something about what produces a skinhead today, and though he doesn't succeed fully in this endeavor, he does take us a significant part of the way.
American History X may be flawed, but it's not easily forgotten.
An intelligently provocative film!
American History X has enough fiery acting and provocative bombast to make its impact felt!
| Original Score: 4/5
Having reduced racism to a kind of adolescent coping mechanism, X takes a mildly curious path to its foregone conclusion, writer-director Tony Kaye putting his leads through the somehow comforting 'hood-film paces.
| Original Score: B+
A very good film with some dazzling moments and one truly outstanding performance!
This journey to unpleasantville is too often manipulative and strains to maintain tension.
A confused, randomly compelling family melodrama.
| Original Score: 3/5
The ending is a misfire.
American History X pulls open the wound of American racism and peers inside!